Women have been breastfeeding their babies for thousands of years, making it a completely natural way to feed your new little one with benefits for the both of you. Just because women have been nursing for a long time, however, doesn’t mean that the natural process comes, well, naturally. From latching problems to engorged, leaking breasts, breastfeeding moms often face challenges. Fortunately, modern society has given us ways to make breastfeeding easier, which can help moms feel more comfortable and enjoy nursing more.

Nursing Pillows

Originally designed to help babies who were learning to sit up, moms quickly realized that placing the U-shaped pillows around their waist helped bring their babies up to the perfect height for breastfeeding. Nursing pillows can take the strain off of your arms, neck and back while holding your little one. Nursing pillows come in a variety of different styles and sizes and can be adjusted to feed your little one in several different positions.

Nipple Shields

An improper latch can quickly lead to painful nipples that can make you dread the next nursing session. A nipple shield is a soft, flexible device that is worn over the breast during nursing sessions. Nipple shields can help elongate your nipples if they are flat or inverted, helping your baby to latch properly. The shield can also be worn to allow your nipples time to heal while you help your little one to latch on properly to prevent pain from occurring in the future.

Nursing Bras

For a long time, nursing bras were simply a regular bra that had a clip added. Today, nursing bras come in a variety of styles, designed to support your breasts and keep you comfortable. Nursing bras can be undone with one hand, keeping your other hand free to hold your little one while you prepare to nurse him or her. If you are planning on pumping, look for a style that will allow you to breast pump hands-free, helping you to be more productive.

Breast Pumps

When you held your newborn for the first time, it was probably hard to picture ever wanting to be separated from him or her. At some point, though, you will want some time for yourself or you will need to go back to work. Breast pumps make it possible to continue to provide your little one milk while you are away. By using a breast pump, you will soon be able to stockpile breast milk in your freezer, perfect to use when you are away from your baby or if you want someone else to do a night feeding so you can catch up on some much-needed sleep.

If you are having issues with low milk supply, a breast pump can help you to increase your milk. Pumping for a few minutes after each nursing session will help to increase your milk supply by making your body think that more milk is required for your little one, prompting it to bump up milk production.

Nursing Covers

Though there is nothing wrong with nursing in public, some moms prefer to keep a little more covered up when their little one needs to eat while they are out. Rather than using a hot blanket that can easily be thrown off by curious baby hands, nursing covers can be worn around your neck and feature a rigid neckline that allows you to peek on your little one while still keeping you covered during nursing sessions.

Nursing Pads

Nothing is more embarrassing (or uncomfortable) than being out in public and suddenly hearing a baby cry, prompting your milk to let down and soak through your shirt. Nursing pads can discreetly be worn inside of your bra, helping you to avoid an awkward situation from arising. Nursing pads can either be disposable or washable and come in a variety of sizes to fit every mom.

Smartphone Applications

No, not apps to keep you occupied while your little one nurses for the third time that night (though those are fun, too). You should nurse your little one or pump at least every three hours while your milk supply becomes established. In order to determine if your baby is getting enough milk, you should also keep track of their wet and soiled diapers. Keeping track of all of that information would be hard for anyone, let alone a sleep-deprived mom. Use a smartphone app to help you stay on top of when to nurse and how many wet diapers your baby has had each day to help ease your worries.

Breastfeeding Support

If you are having problems nursing, know that you aren’t alone and that help is available. From breastfeeding leagues and groups to lactation consultants, there is support available for your individual situation. It’s also important to let your partner and family know that you need support while breastfeeding. Asking for help can be difficult, but it can make breastfeeding much easier and more rewarding.

Your baby may have been a nursing champ from day one or maybe he or she struggled to latch on for several days. Either way, these nursing items can help make the experience go more smoothly and help to ease any discomfort you have while feeding your little one.